In a previous post, I noted that there are 6 core technologies that, together, make it possible to achieve the fully integrated operating environment for process industries that ARC Advisory Group refers to as CPAS: Collaborative Process Automation Systems.
Here they are:
1. Marriage of Object-Oriented Design with Aspect Oriented Programming: When an object – any plant asset from a controller to a programmable relay – is entered into the DCS system, its operating variables – aspects – can be replicated or customized across the entire system. It allows for efficient programming of non-native devices via the DCS architecture.
2. Thin-client architecture: It’s not new, but it enables the benefit of Object-Oriented Design and Aspect Oriented Programming. It allows allow configuration of assets from a single location, while individual workplaces can be customized as needed for each operator/user. In some cases, adding a piece of field equipment to the network can literally be a drag-and-drop operation.
3. Electrical integration: The biggest integration gap may be the divide between process automation and power management. Rising standardization of electrical systems around IEC 61850 now makes it possible to design DCS platforms that integrate things like circuit breakers and transformers as consistently as switches, pumps and valves.
4. Fieldbus standardization and wireless networks: At the field level, standardization provides gains in interconnectivity that allow a DCS platform to be more flexible in the variety of devices and protocols it can accommodate.
5. OPC Unified Architecture: At the application level, adoption of the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture standard makes it easier for a DCS to connect with third-party DCS controllers and PLCs. Once connected, data flows seamlessly, allowing an operator to view every object as if it was part of the native system.
6. State-based control operating strategy: Built on the principle that facilities operate in definable process states, state-based control categorizes those states and provides automated responses when they change. It relies on the improved systems integration to quickly deliver improved productivity, safety, quality and financial results.
Which of these technologies are being applied by your process control system?